§ Mr. Baker
To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, pursuant to his oral answer of 12 January 1998,Official Report, column 18, what plans he has to reduce the £124,545 spent on average per bishop per year. 
§ Mr. Stuart Bell
In 1996 the Commissioners spent 10 per cent. of their total expenditure on supporting episcopal ministry. The Commissioners endeavour to provide the level of support for bishops necessary to enable them to undertake their ministry to the Church efficiently and economically.
Spending on episcopal housing, staff salaries and expenses is subject to close budgetary control. Repairs to buildings are limited to the minimum which the Commissioners feel is consistent with the proper maintenance of those properties in their care. The Commissioners are engaged in a review of the suitability of diocesan bishops' houses and in many cases steps have been taken to reduce long-term running costs.